Tag Archives: death

I am a parentless parent

I haven’t written in a very long time. I started and then graduated from Graduate ¬†School (yeah for me!). I started and then ended a new job (5 years in what was not a fun job) and it showed me how much I am not a good fit for the corporate world. It only took me about 12 years to figure out, but hey sometimes the money is good and I can be a slow or perhaps stubborn learner.

What has really rocked my world was becoming a mother to twin boys. Yes, twins. It was a rocket of a ride being pregnant and working in an environment that was less than supportive. The less than supportive environment and toxic people I was surrounded with ended up being a good thing for my decision making. Being pregnant brought up old retired demons I thought I had rid myself of. Childhood fears bubbled to the surface and a steroidal mama bear was born. It was freeing and frightening.

There is so much I could and will eventually say about being a pregnant with twins woman, a twin mom, a wife and a changed member of society. What has really sent my rocket into unchartered territory is coping with the death of both of my dads in the span of 8 months. Even as I type that, it seems more real than it was before that sentence had not been typed by me and tears are streaming down my face. I am completely parentless.

My rock died first, Mel. My mentor, my comfort and the person who always saw the best part of me when I was at my worst. My Mel. It was and remains horrible to think of the world going on without him in it. He remains one of the most beautiful humans I know. His flaws made him all the more loveable and reminded me that he is no saint, but he is my dad. Watching him be a grandpa to my boys was a delight and the thought of my little ones not remembering his hugs and vulnerable love is almost more than I can handle. I will say the pain has been worth it. It reminds me of the love he and I still share. Without that love, there would not be the level of pain I am in and I will take that pain any day of the week than not experience the love.

It was a sudden and unexpected death. And, if there is one thing I know for sure it is that he was not ready to go. “I miss him” is a phrase that does not and could not embrace the depths of the hole in my life, but it’s the best the English language has to offer right now. And, I do. I miss him.

Fast forward to 8 months and one day later, and my biological dad died. Cancer. Fucking cancer. I am fairly certain he assisted and sped up his expiration date. His partner, the love of his life, was dying and just as I have a hard time imagining life without my Mel he could not imagine a life without his Barney. My dad delayed treatment for his cancer. He actually did not have to die. It was very treatable and discovered early. Barney was already dying and I believe my dad thought this would be an easier exit for him. So, 2 years after he was diagnosed and 2 months after Barney took his last breath my dad took too much of pain meds.

When both of your parents are gone (my mother has been gone for 10 years, but I didn’t really know her so this is different) you feel as if part of your history has disappeared. There is no one to ask about only the stories they know of you as a little person. There is no one who will love you as your parents love you. I know this now as a parent. I see my boys in a way no one else will ever see them. I was always my dad’s baby. I was always my dad’s pride. I was always my dad’s heart. And, I had that times two! Imagine seeing all of this in not one, but two different sets of daddy eyes. All girls should be so lucky.

Another chapter to write in my life. Another chapter I will be seeking silver linings from. My kids are better than a silver lining though. They are my constant reminders that life is here now and though the moments may be frustrating, sad and possibly defeated the moments are also giggling, discovering and receiving love from two 2 year olds that fills my heart with joy.

After all, it is only fair that I should be raising two boys after two dads raised me.

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Another loss …

I’m so thankful to have such a big family on both sides but with a super sized family comes the inevitable face of loss frequently. My grandfather died on December 23, 2009. He was 88 years old, a World War II veteran, father of 7, grandfather to more than I can count and a great grand father. While this was not unexpected it still stings.

Another family gathering is being planned when after the snow melts. It will wonderful to see everyone, but unfortunate considering the circumstances. RIP Grandpa Franklin.

Still Constipated

More than you needed to know? I’m not clogged as in I need more fiber in my diet constipated; I have a road block sitting in my head. I start to write and then I go crazy on the backspace key unhappy with the words I have laid down. I’m pushing and it is causing me mental hemorrhoids. To my knowledge there is no Preparation H for the brain, but maybe fiber isn’t a bad idea.

I contribute the clog to my busy schedule. The creative juices have been stalled because I have a lot going on right now in terms of change in my life …. all very good change though! But, in my heart of hearts I know it is not really the reason but a convenient excuse. So here is my come to Jesus to you: About this time of year 5 years ago I received an email from my Aunt Judy. We kept in touch infrequently mostly due to my emotional distance with my family. I had learned to protect myself from love at a young age even though I craved love. Love hurt you is what I had been educated on in life and so I was fairly adept at keeping people at a distance. So, Aunt Judy emails me with some troubling news about my mother. She was in the hospital and doing pretty bad. She was not sure she was going to survive. Now in my heart I knew she was telling me that if I wanted to see my mom, it had been 24 years, this would be the time and by the way you should see your mother. What I don’t think my family has ever understood about my relationship with my mother is how complicated and full of pain it was. I am sorry to say that I don’t remember a lot of joyous times with her. My memories are laced in a lot of confusion and pain over things she said to me. My mother and her siblings had lost their parents at a very young age and so I think they felt like I was cheating the opportunity they did not have with their parents. On the other hand, they were fully aware of my mother’s demons but probably not to the extent that she inflicted them on me. No one likes to believe bad things about loved ones.

So, I receive this email and I am emotionally stunned. Paralyzed I just sat there staring at the computer. I decided to call both of my dad’s separately for some advice. Both of them without hesitation jumped into “protect my daughter at all costs mode” at the mention of my mother. Both of them had felt her wrath at many points in their life and both had always attempted to shield me from just what she was capable of. Now remember, this is a woman who with all of the love in her heart was in more pain than I could ever imagine. And, she had been suffering this pain most of her life. What I am saying is that she was not a bad person, but she could do some pretty bad things. Both of my dad’s suggested I not go see her for two reasons: One, it would probably throw me into an emotional tail spin and Two, the guilt she would feel by seeing me would likely overwhelm her too. I decided that no matter what the circumstances were at this present time, I was not ready to see her and I needed to honor that feeling. This was not about her even though I was conflicted over the thought that she may need me and I may never get an opportunity to “see” her again. Conflicted because I am still the child and I was abandoned by her more times than I could count. I did not want to be a parent to her once again. I knew that would injure my spirit.

I decided not to go. She pulled through for about one month and then ended up back in the hospital passing away in December. I flew over there attempting to see her before she passed, but she died before I could get up there. Part of me regretted that and another part felt like it was for the best. Her whole death brings a lot of unresolved conflict into my little noggin. Because my family really did not “know” me, decisions were made.

We were all trying to take care of each other and ourselves at the same time and it was a mess. I could not possibly understand what they were going through losing their first sibling and unfortunately they did not understand what I was going through either …. because they did not know. Basically it was a terrible time for all of us and we did the best we could. I am without a doubt very fortunate to have all of my families support and I needed them at that time. Can you see the conflict? We did not really know anything about each other except through Christmas cards and the occasional email. It was weird. I had all of this love around me which was so touching but I felt so alone at the same time which was not an unusual feeling for me. I can only describe it as …. strange.

My point is this. Writing about my mother is very cathartic. It releases a lot of demons and it places memories into perspective as they relate to my current life. Writing about my mother is also painful. Some of my family reads these posts and while I try to remain raw with the descriptions because the story is the story (from my perspective), I am also trying to be respectful of their memory of her. They maintained a relationship with her. I did not.

So, I am backed up like a mildewy drain with 2 years of hair in the sink. Ewwwwww. I’m trying to get through it so I can get the story out, but I just ask you bare with me as I work through some feelings that have surfaced. The story shall continue when it is ready and until then I will try to place some anecdotal stories that would not otherwise make it in. Enjoy!

Pensive Parsimony

As we age there is something that becomes constant, we have to face our own mortality by losing people we love. I strive to be more peaceful with people’s passings and know that this is a part of life. It is not an unfortunate part of life but a scary one. It is fearful because we do not know what happens except we no longer physically interact with those we love. I have said I do not think you ever get over the loss of a parent but you do get to a point where you forgive life for taking your parent away from you. Death does leave a gift though. It reminds you to treasure those around you while you are both still here.

Today I send my love and light to my cousin. Your family is here to help you and love you as you move this process.

And, today I will hug my partner a little harder, I will call my surviving parents to tell them I love them and I tell you through this blog how thankful I am to have your ear every once in a while.

Big Cousin Dave

Big Cousin Dave